The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported this Wednesday that the Iranian regime began to operate the “advanced centrifuges” that had been displaced to an underground sector of the Natanz plant, the main uranium enrichment center.
In accordance with the nuclear agreement signed in Vienna in 2015, Tehran is not allowed to use centrifuges, the most common method for enriching uranium, so sophisticated.
In a report released last week, the United Nations agency reported on the removal of centrifuges following an explosion at another facility, described as “sabotage” by the Islamic Republic.
Since May 2019, Iran gradually abandoned its commitments in response to the US withdrawal from the agreement signed in Vienna, in 2015, and the reinstatement of sanctions by the administration of President Donald Trump.
According to the latest IAEA report, the amount of lightly enriched uranium is now 12 times the authorized limit. The agreement allows Tehran to continue using 5,060 first-generation centrifuges, with a smaller capacity, although it limits the storage of enriched uranium to a maximum of 300 kilos.
It was after reading this document that Donald Trump would have probed senior US officials about the possibility of “acting” against an Iranian nuclear site, probably Natanz, according to the newspaper. The New York Times this week.
Those attending the meeting, including the vice president, Mike Pence; the secretary of state; Mike Pompeo; the new acting secretary of defense, Christopher Miller, and the Chief of the General Staff, General Mark Milley, they dissuaded the president from carrying out a military attack at the risk of rapidly degenerating into a broader conflict, the New York newspaper said.
Following this information, the spokesman for the Iranian regime, Ali RabiíHe said that any military action against his country would be met with “an overwhelming response.”
When asked about the matter, the IAEA head, Rafael Grossi, refused to speculate on any possible scenario: “We have not received any information.”
The IAEA chief also revisited the suspicious place in the Turquzabad district in Tehran, denounced in the past by the Israeli government as the scene of secret atomic activities.
The agency recently requested “a complete and prompt explanation from Iran regarding the presence of anthropogenic uranium particles (resulting from human activities).” “What they tell us, from a technical point of view, does not hold,” explained Rafael Grossi. “They have to explain to us why we found what we found.”
“Otherwise we have to worry about the content and scope of what (the Iranians) tell us.”, the Argentine warned.
The North American delegation criticized in the plenary session of the Board as “Absolutely unacceptable” Iran has not resolved in almost two years the origin of these fissile traces.
For its part, Iran confirmed that it began to inject gas into a chain of advanced centrifuges. The Persian representative to the IAEA, Kazem GharibabadiHe pointed out that the international agency verified that step taken by Tehran four days ago.
“Iran started introducing (uranium hexafluoride gas) UF6 into the recently installed cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges at the fuel enrichment plant in Natanz”Gharibabadi wrote on his Twitter account.
Centrifuges are the most common method for enriching uranium in the gaseous state (hexafluoride). They work by separating the isotopes of U235, present in only less than 1% of natural uranium and necessary for sustainable fission, from the more massive U238. Uranium slightly enriched is one whose presence of U235 has been raised to a percentage between 2 and 5% and it is used in nuclear power plants; propulsion engines, such as those used by submarines, require uranium enriched to 20% and nuclear weapons require an enrichment of more than 80%. For this reason, non-proliferation standards limit superior enrichment.
In accordance with the provisions of the nuclear agreement, Until now, Iran used only first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to enrich uranium to a maximum level of 3.67% U235.
In his latest report on Iran, issued last week, UN inspectors explained that the Iranians have begun with the installation of a cascade of centrifuges of the IR-4 type, even more modern, although not yet the IR-6 type.
According to recent calculations by the Institute for International Science and Security (ISIS) in Washington, the three cascades with machines of the type IR2m, IR-4 and IR-6 would increase Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity by almost 50%.
The same institute estimates in an analysis on the latest IAEA report, that Iran would now need less than six months to get enough enriched uranium for two bombs.
The Iranian authorities hope that the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, go back to the nuclear deal – sponsored under the Barack Obama administration – and lift the policy of “maximum pressure” imposed by Trump.
In this regard, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohamad yavad zarif, said today in an interview with a state newspaper that the United States can easily return to the nuclear pact but “is not in a position to put conditions.” “If the United States fulfills its obligations under (UN) resolution 2231, we will fulfill our JCPOA commitments,” he said.
With information from AFP and EFE